Marine Corps Marathon – The Finish

Happy Halloween! The one night a year when it’s socially acceptable for children to come to your door and beg for candy.

This is the final installment for my Marine Corps Marathon recap. I’m not saying it’s my final post about the Marine Corps Marathon, but it does complete the day. In case you missed it, you can find my full race recap HERE and the events leading up the start line HERE.

So I had just crossed the finish line in 5:10:37, which was a 24 minute PR from my first marathon (Thunder Road) in Charlotte last year. Immediately after crossing the finish line they kept us moving, as a line of Marines shook our hands and congratulated us. We continued walking towards Iwo Jima, and then got in one of several lines to receive the coveted finisher’s medal.

2014 Marine Corps Marathon

The set up for finisher’s medal lines the day before.

It wasn’t too long a wait in the line I chose. Before I knew it, a Marine was placing the medal around my neck. He didn’t salute me, but he did say “congratulations, ma’am.” Immediately after him was an official race photographer. I saw a lot of people asking their Marine to turn around and pose with them, but mine seemed very businesslike so I left him be. I wish I had asked him to be in my picture, though!

2014 Marine Corps Marathon

Mr. Businesslike is behind my left shoulder.

Once I received my medal I made my way up to the Marine Corps War Memorial to get an official photo. I stood in another line, although it wasn’t that long since they had numerous spots set up.

finish photo1

From there I followed the masses towards what appeared to be the way out. I was ready to get off my feet and sit down. The only way out was through the food/water lines so I got in line there – I wanted some water and food anyway! They were efficiently run, but it still took a while to get through the lines. I felt alright when I was moving but anytime we stopped everything ached so much and I just wanted to sit down.

2014 Marine Corps Marathon

The food line.

I acquired a bottle of water and a banana and a ‘snack box.’ At MCM they don’t have your typical post-race food (bagels, multiple types of fruit, pretzels, etc.). The snack box had a granola bar, a small bag of corn chips, a sample cup of white cheddar cheese, some almond snack things, fruit snacks, and a fruit cup. One thing I really appreciated was they gave us each a plastic bag for our post-race goodies. It’s really convenient to have something to put everything in, and I think it makes the line move faster. Once I got through the crowd, I had another walk (probably a bit less than half a mile) down to a predetermined meeting spot in Rosslyn to hook up with Barry and my Dad.

2014 Marine Corps Marathon

I was happy to see them and happy I could finally sit down.

Can you see the massive number of people in the road behind me? It was really important for us to have a designated spot to meet, or we never would have found each other! The first thing I did when I got back was give hugs all around and show off my medal.

2014 Marine Corps Marathon

Bling, bling.

Next we took a few pictures together, because I knew once I sat down it was going to be awhile before I got back up.

2014 Marine Corps Marathon

2014 Marine Corps Marathon

Then I finally, finally sat down. A brick sidewalk with a metal pole to lean against never felt so good!

2014 Marine Corps Marathon

I sat there for a long time, and Barry and my Dad were happy to sit with me. They did over 20 miles of biking all over DC and in Virginia during the race. I picked through my snack box, eating most of it, and watched other runners shuffle by and reunite with their friends and loved ones. I think we actually sat there close to 45 minutes. And then I decided to put on my official race jacket. I was so excited to put it on. I earned that thing!

2014 Marine Corps Marathon

Okay, enough pictures of me. After that, we I finally decided it was time to move. So we walked through the rest of the finish festival area on our way towards the Metro (DC’s subway system). There was an awesome band playing covers of popular rock songs. I also found free samples of pumpkin spice iced coffee and a mixed berry fruit smoothie.

2014 Marine Corps Marathon

They were rockin’ out!

The line for the Metro wrapped out of the lobby and around the side of a building. Surprisingly, it moved quickly and it didn’t take long before we were headed down to catch a train back to where we parked.

2014 Marine Corps Marathon

On the way home, I got a hankering for some mac and cheese from a local restaurant in the area. We stopped to pick some up and I brought it home to eat, along with a post-race “recovery beverage” in my new tumbler!

2014 Marine Corps Marathon

Hit the spot.

By then, it was getting later in the evening. Once we all got cleaned up we just hung out, telling old war stories from the Marine Corps Marathon around the fire.

My Dad got a kick out of how I go down stairs post-marathon (which would be backwards) because he hadn’t seen that before. The next day (Monday) I got to go out to lunch at Chipotle with my little sister for a “sister’s lunch.” I hadn’t ever eaten there before, and it was really good! Plus I had a buy one get one free coupon that I got when I picked up my bib at MCM. After that it was time to hit the road and head home.

My whole body was sore on Monday and Tuesday, but by Wednesday it was mainly just my legs that were still sore. I’m taking the whole week off from exercise this week, and I’ll start easing back into things next week.

Overall, I think recovery is going pretty well. It’s a good thing I’m taking time off this week, or I wouldn’t have had the time to write these recaps! Kudos to you if you made it through all of them!

How do you like to celebrate after a big race?

15 Comments

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  1. I made it through! And I liked all of them. Finding concrete to sit on post-race is always a big priority of mine. And that’s great you got to stay for one more day to eat at chipotle and see your sister. A big burrito is usually on my post-race agenda 🙂 backwards down stairs is a great idea! I’ll have to try it next time.
    Amy recently posted…Happy PlacesMy Profile

    1. I typically prefer grass, but there wasn’t much of that to be found. Mmm a big burrito sounds like delicious post-race food. Sometimes during a longer long run, I’ll start day dreaming about having an egg burrito with cheese, salsa, and black beans for breakfast.

      I hope you run another full marathon soon so that I can see what you think of my “backwards down the stairs” method.

  2. What a great weekend. I must say that the Marine’s know how to put on a marathon. Although it was crowded it never felt overwhelming. I was a bit surprised by the number of residents Barry and I ran into during our trek that had no idea what was going on.

    Any want to go to St. Louis?

    LUD.

    1. It was a great weekend 🙂 I thought the race organization was really well. Yes, it was crowded at the race, but you just have to plan accordingly and let the system they have in place to the rest of the work. Funny that so many people didn’t know what was going on – like that lady in the parking lot in Crystal City! But I guess things are always going on there.

      St. Louis would be awesome! I kind of feel like I would have to run the full, to justify the travel.

  3. I love your mac n’cheese post-race meal. That would be a go-to for me as well! Congrats again!

  4. I think I would have a panic attack after a race w/ so many people. I’m so used to the small races in our area! Congrats again on such a great race. I hope you will post your reflections on the Hanson method vs. more traditional training soon. That medal is awesome!
    jan recently posted…FakeBookingMy Profile

    1. I wasn’t sure how I would deal with the crowds, but I did alright. Once I made it out of the finish area, I was definitely done with the crowds, though.

      I will work on a post about the Hansons training, just for you 🙂

      1. Haha thanks! 🙂 I’m sure I won’t be the only one to enjoy it!
        jan recently posted…FakeBookingMy Profile

  5. I not only made it through all three MCM posts, but I loved every second of them! Congrats again!

    Walking down the stairs backwards post marathon is the only way to go! 🙂

    I can’t believe you’d never had Chipotle before last weekend. They opened one in Blacksburg just after you graduated. We have a Chipotle near us that we frequent a couple times a month (used to be every Thursday)!
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…Halloween MemoriesMy Profile

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed them! When I was in high school I think we had a Chipotle and a Baja Fresh. Baja Fresh was the first one I tried, and I liked it so much I just never gave the other one a chance. I’ve never been to the one in Bburg, but I’ve been to the Moe’s (which I didn’t really care for). I got the chicken burrito bowl at Chipotle and it was delicious!

  6. Congrats again! Love that jacket!
    Chipotle is our go-to pre-race dinner (yes, I know a big bean and veggie burrito with lots of hot salsa is exactly what they tell you NOT to eat, but it works for us!) It makes a good post-race meal as well 🙂
    JoAnne recently posted…Seen on the run (November 2, 2014)My Profile

    1. I’m a big fan of the jacket, too 🙂 That was the one piece of official race gear I knew I had to have… well that and the tumbler glass! I cannot imagine eating Mexican food the night before a race. During Ragnar van 1 told us (van 2) that they had eaten Mexican food after their first set of legs. I guess if it works for you, haha. I’ll stick to Mexican post-race.

  7. Finally read all three. Huge CONGRATS on the finish, such a big accomplishment. Post race beer abd chipotle the next day are exactly how I would celebrate lol.
    running schlub recently posted…Mrs. Schlub PR & Trail Race Scouting RecapMy Profile

    1. Thanks!! The post-race beer (a cinnamon horchata wheat ale) definitely hit the spot.

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